Parents mourns death of 13-year-old daughter after ‘sudden’ asthma attack

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — La Trease and Thomas Thompson are familiar with tragedy; the Mid-South came to their rescue in 2013 when their van was stolen with La Trease's wedding dress inside.

But now, the Thompsons need their community again. This tragedy is going to make for a tough recovery.

"I'm trying to stay strong for my family, but my wife is really distraught," Thomas Thomas said.

Thompson said his daughter Kalisha, 13, came to their room around 3 a.m. with an emergency last Wednesday.

"She woke up and couldn't breathe, so we put her on the breathing machine. She just came in and was panicking," he said.

Kalisha has asthma and had just started a new medicine a month ago, he said.

They didn't want to wait, so they drove to the closest fire station.

"She couldn't get out of the car. They put the machine on her, but it was too late. She was already gone," he said.

Baptist Children's Hospital's Dr. Miguel Rodriguez didn’t treat Kalisha, but said it can be tough to get kids to talk about their symptoms. In this case, it might’ve been too late.

"It's pretty rare, but not uncommon," he said of asthma attack deaths.

He also said right now people are getting over the flu, and there’s pollen in the air.

“This time of year in particular there are a lot of triggers that can cause asthma attacks," Rodriguez said.

But for Thomas, there's no explanation for losing his eldest.

"The day before that she was out here playing in the water. She was a happy kid. It just happened so sudden," he said.

The family says they are still trying to make funeral arrangements as they also prepare to celebrate their middle child's birthday Thursday.

Thomas said he learned seconds can make a difference, and if you have a child with asthma make sure they always have the right medication.